It is always a joy to say these magic words: “Here we go!” As to our destinations, below is a visual of the itinerary shared in my previous post (click HERE). If you feel as I do, a picture indeed is worth a thousand words.
And what better way to start off the trip than a spectacularly uneventful, early-arriving flight into Heathrow? With just 18 hours on the ground before the next flight, booking accommodations at the airport made the most sense. The Sofitel is literally attached to Terminal 5, with all sorts of public transportation steps away — the Underground (Piccadilly line) and non-stop train to Paddington station. It is a very nice, reasonable hotel with luggage trolleys in the lobby. Now, if they had just managed to provide that 5am wake-up call.
Alas, a small hiccup was thus encountered which led to a missed flight to Reykjavik (miles already back in our account). Fortunately, an afternoon flight had seats so in total we lost maybe six hours. Activities could easily be made up upon arrival in Iceland with our rental car and flexible schedule. For this particular ground itinerary — along the “southern Ring Road/Highway 1” including hotel bookings, sightseeing musts and restaurants — I engaged Chris Gordon’s company Icepedition. Chris became know to me from Wendy Perrin’s WOW list of area experts.
Selected shots from Reykjavik below
To a person, the response upon hearing one is going to Iceland is either: “Oh, it’s on my bucket list!” or “You will love it!” The reasons are now clear. It is very friendly. The scenery is truly spectacular. There are a great many different things to do. The food (except horse and reindeer offerings which I can’t even imagine) is contemporary cuisine incorporating local flavors and fresh seafood. Iceland is easy to navigate on very good roads. There are endless beautiful waterfalls. And did I mention the scenery is spectacular?
It’s really just since 2010 that Iceland seems to be on most travelers’ radar. Frankly, I don’t have an answer as to why but it’s a safe bet there’s a connection to Game of Thrones. Scenes filmed in Iceland are in every season (2011-2019). One thing we did find it a bit curious is few if any signs have English translations. Just a side note; not a complaint!
As for our experience, feast your eyes on the photos. Iceland is everything it is reputed to be and more. Next up: The Faroe Islands.
1. Calling all GOT fans — filming site Black Sand Beach
known for the stone stacks and basalt columns in addition to the black sand
2. A smidgen of the Blue Lagoon — it was closed for maintenance during our stay.
3. Two shots from exploring the Katla volcano
It is way overdue for an eruption (typically every 60-80 years). The last one was 1918. Guide Thor (yes, he is of Viking heritage) told us every visitor is tracked in case they need to be warned! He provided us with “cramp-on’s” which are metal spikes that fit the bottom of a shoe to provide stability walking the terrain or going through the glacier caves (we opted out of that activity).
4. Diamond Beach The ice chunks could chill endless cocktails.
Iconic Glacier Lagoon. It is just remarkable.
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall where you can actually walk behind the falls (if you don’t mind getting soaked).